Can anyone tell me what this means?

The annual National Audit ritual of ‘let’s kick the MoD in the balls’ commonly called the Major Project Report was published today.

Click here to read.

As usual, lots of interesting stuff like the name for the BOWMAN replacement project is called MORPHEUS and this particular piece on the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carriers;

Queen Elizabeth Class is not fully funded to deliver the Helicopter Carrying role in support of Littoral Manoeuvre and the design and safety clearance in its amphibious helicopter support capability is currently limited

Can anyone translate into English?

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tweckyspat
January 13, 2015 2:45 pm

too easy….

it means a few million quid more to BAe for unforeseen safety case integration…

Ian Hall
Ian Hall
January 13, 2015 2:50 pm

Yep, the bean counters have won -again.

Hohum
Hohum
January 13, 2015 2:55 pm

Basically the integration of either Apache, Lynx or the Commando Helicopter force (highly unlikely to be the latter now its a Merlin- although it does read that way) requires a bunch more money for the safety case to be approved.

Of course what this underlines (and what we already know) is that QE will have to to be an LPH as well as a carrier strike and sea control platform.

monkey
monkey
January 13, 2015 3:02 pm

@TD
Or “Queen Elizabeth Class is not fully funded to deliver the Helicopter Carrying role in support of Littoral Manoeuvre and the design and safety clearance in its amphibious helicopter support capability is currently limited”
You have to forgive him being half Greek and Zimbabwean his English is not so good , Adm Z is trying to say ” These are F**KING strike carriers and nothing else! Anybody who says different will get a missile up the jacksy. P.S. he has plans for new dedicated Amphib’s me thinks to partner his new CVF’s.

Hohum
Hohum
January 13, 2015 3:47 pm

Are design and safety not linked?

It looks to me that what we are seeing the issues arising from QE now having to take on the Ocean role.

Observer
Observer
January 13, 2015 3:49 pm

Let us break it down shall we?

“Queen Elizabeth Class is not fully funded to deliver the Helicopter Carrying role.”
-We’re short on money for helicopters too.

“in support of Littoral Manoeuvre”
-” These are F**KING strike carriers and nothing else!”

“the design and safety clearance in its amphibious helicopter support capability is currently limited”
-“We designed these as FJ carriers as that was what you asked for. Now you say that you want LHAs instead??!!”

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
January 13, 2015 4:02 pm

I suspect what it means is this.

The current funded FOCFT programme includes developing SHOLs for all cabs off the currently identified helo spots.

However, folk are now looking at using the vast expanse of flightdeck for more spots in the LPH role.

The funded FOCFT prog does not include those spots, because their positions have not yet been finalised in the design.

No big deal, NAO correctly flagging an unfunded item in the programme – hence risk – but basically just means they’ll have to add a couple of weeks to the FOCFT programme to accommodate it, once the Spot locations are finalised.

The Other Chris
January 13, 2015 4:08 pm

Is that likely the push to 10 spots NaB?

mike
mike
January 13, 2015 4:22 pm

The RN would never put these into the littoral, peoples ideas of using these as LHA’s just doesn’t sing well with me, the RN is (justifiably) wary of putting such important capital ships into harms way… i.e. 1982.

Maybe we are seeing the beginnings of a dark blue manoeuvre for a dedicated LHA/big deck Amphib.
Problem is, what more can the RN sacrifice to get it?

Then again, NaB’s explanation is more likely :D
Though with these spots placement, would vary between aircraft types – I imagine Chinooks would be the more awkward type to accommodate for.

monkey
monkey
January 13, 2015 4:48 pm

@TD
“What we have ended up with is a racing thoroughbred brilliant at a job it will do very rarely but not as useful as one we tend to use more often by virtue of being optimised for one and resulting in the loss of capabilities elsewhere”
Yes, that’s the plan. Come the retirement date of the present amphibs and the Government pressing for an all arms reaction force deliverable by sea the RN will point to QE and PoW saying sorry not on theses you cant what we need is 2 LHA and 2 LHD based on the QE class as that will keep the ‘cost’ down (won’t it, not on your Nellie ) but reconfigured for helicopter/troop transport with the tag along of if you want to keep a credible carrier group all ways available etc. That way they can claim cost savings and get want they want a mini USN.
@TD
You edit beat me to it !

Hohum
Hohum
January 13, 2015 4:54 pm

You have got your big fat hull, many things can now be done to that big fat hull ta make it better suited to the new reality it finds itself in. If you had said in 1997/89 when this project was being conceived that the RAF would be down to 7 or even 6 FJ squadrons and Ocean would be down to a single operational flat-top of any description people would have laughed.

The reality now is QE is an LHA, there is nothing wrong with that, its a legitimate role but it is the result of the level of available funding.

Hohum
Hohum
January 13, 2015 5:01 pm

TD,

The idea that the QE class are “racing thoroughbreds” is laughable. What you have is a large flat deck with another large flat deck underneath it that has the ability to move (though not that fast), there are not cats which puts limits on aircraft type, and there is little in the way of defensive armament. CdG or a Ford class might be “racing thoroughbreds” but QE certainly is not.

What the RN have rather sensibly purchased is a pair of large metal boxes they can spend the next 50 years tweaking to meet whatever changing circumstances and aircraft arise.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
January 13, 2015 5:02 pm

So we have had 1 post from NAB that translated it and then we have had ” we are all doomed” from everyone else.

Hohum
Hohum
January 13, 2015 5:09 pm

TD,

Why do they need a well deck? The UK still has Albion and Bulwark; Ocean never had a well deck. I suspect what you will see in the ships first few refits will be relatively inexpensive modifications that allow them to carry vehicles and assault craft. Remember, big metal box that can be fiddled with.

Sure the situation is not ideal, but frankly its the best you could have hoped for with the available budget.

Hohum
Hohum
January 13, 2015 5:21 pm

TD,

I have to disagree, when CVF was conceived the fleet structure looked entirely viable. It was only 2008-10 that really shifted that, fortunately the QE class is well placed to be adapted.

I seriously doubt your three multi-purpose ships would be much use either; the trade-offs would be far too severe (especially with a well deck). The next opportunity comes round with a renewal for the amphibious fleet.

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
January 13, 2015 6:07 pm

Far be it from me to challenge the conventional wisdom that it’s all the RNs fault and if only we’d settled for some Juan Carlos and Invincible-plus everything would be alright. The RAF would have bought loads of helicopters and the Snatch would never have been required on operations.

Perish the thought that the RN actually thought about what might be required across a wide spectrum in the future and stuck to it, despite a campaign against it based purely on size which must be directly equivalent to cost.

Could it possibly be that the LPH role was to provide spots for the current 2 Coy lift requirement? Might it be now that additional spots are being looked at to compensate for the absence of LCVP – which you might class as a “nice to have” in an LPH? Might it be that the RN is actually trying to accommodate more joint capability like Chinook and exploit that to the benefit of all concerned? Could it be that this is actually some minor calculation checking (parking loads being less than landing loads in Lloyds NS rules) and marking out of additional spots beyond those already provide to ensure clearances and is likely to be trivial in impact?

Can’t be. Must be the RN not knowing their place again and spending the entire defence budget on the carriers.

Hohum
Hohum
January 13, 2015 6:35 pm

NaB,

I am with you. This seems to be an exercise in looking for something to get upset about.

monkey
monkey
January 13, 2015 7:30 pm

I thought the QE CVF was sized even to operate the humongous V-22 ? I still think this part of the RN Grand Fleet plan to restore big ship capability when we can afford it (not money , time) as opposed to in the run up to some major conflagration ,which all be it in years , will be too short to get vessels the size of CVF/T45/T26 in the water ready for fleet operations built to a survivable level. By all means we could impound the likes of CSCL Global and convert it to a whatever like we did to many large merchantmen during WW1 and 2 (if you can’t run flight operations from a 20,000m sq flight deck you need your head examining) but it still would be a massive compromise. I think how they are proceeding towards a potential double strike fleet which can operate independently of our allies as well as in conjunction with them. I just don’t think it is going fast enough but budget and engineering factors are what they are and have to be lived with. It still is beyond my understanding why the RAF decided to buy half the F35B fleet from their budget which in time of crisis will probably allocated to the carriers , 20 each and 8 in various states of dissembley.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
January 13, 2015 7:35 pm

I am not convinced that we need a surface Navy at all, far less one with all of the expensive eggs in one basket. And if we do need a Navy, then the ultimate expression of its combat delivery capability is putting an amphibious force ashore safely.

No one is able to demonstrate a remotely credible operational scenario in which Carrier Strike is vital for the UK to be able to deploy.

The Other Chris
January 13, 2015 8:13 pm

RT would like a fleet of nuclear powered Milchkühe-style submersible tilt-rotor carriers that can optionally beach themselves.

monkey
monkey
January 13, 2015 8:18 pm

@TD
The CVF will be strike/air defence primarily with the ability to embark and or utilize an existing helicopter complement to enable an airborne landing role. I imagine in time of war the peacetime accommodation standards will be out of the window and the marines will bunk down where they can and the RN crew will be hot bunking it giving up accommodation spaces to embarked soldiers , not that they don’t share bunks all ready :-) The RN will want purpose built replacements for Albion ,Bulwark and Ocean so why not evolve the CVF design to provide 2 LHD. A massive redesign I know but the politicos only understand length and girth , sorry beam, and overall tonnage so it would be an easy sell for the RN . Cap in hand they will explain they can ‘get away’ with two instead of the original three and as its ‘almost’ the same as the CVF class it wont be very expensive as ‘most’ of the design work has been done all ready. Simples just like our politicians!

The Other Chris
January 13, 2015 8:37 pm

“No one is able to demonstrate a remotely credible operational scenario in which Carrier Strike is vital for the UK to be able to deploy.”

Empirical evidence would suggest otherwise!

Repulse
January 13, 2015 9:05 pm

For the actual capabilities that the UK has, I cannot see an issue here either. What people have to accept is that our amphibious assault capability will being able to deploy a 800 man light Cdo, nothing more without a safe / friendly port to dock, plus an airport to fly things in. Plus, with the T26 design looking to operate Chinooks and LCVPs (which can also fit on the Rivers BTW), I do not see the need to adapt the CVF design, nor the need for LPDs/LHDs.

Rocket Banana
January 13, 2015 9:28 pm

Oooo, a carrier thread :-)

HMS Ocean (Mk2) – yours for £700m – 7 spots (£100m per spot)
Wasp Class – yours for £1000m – 8 spots (£125m per spot plus bonus amphibious battlegroup)
HMS Queen Elizabeth – yours for £3000m – 10 spots (£300m per spot)

Whatever happened to the idea of VFM?

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
January 13, 2015 9:33 pm

@TOC “Submersible tilt-rotor carriers” – would that be with or without underwater knife-fighters? :-) …although in fairness, in an ideal world, I would like to see considerably more SSN in service…

But I don’t expect to… :-(

GNB

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
January 13, 2015 9:55 pm

TOC,

go on then, suggest a remotely credible operational scenario in which having Carrier Strike is vital for the UK.

….and before you suggest the nameless islands, let me preemptively declare that (1) we neither had a Carrier Strike capability in 1982, as is currently doctrinally correct, nor was it vital, and (2) that a cheaper way of not needing one at all is to make sure that we don’t re-lose them in the future.

The Other Chris
January 13, 2015 10:36 pm

Ooh, touchy!

I was referring to the construction of the vessels as evidence that someone has indeed put together a credible operational scenario…

I think you’re just miffed they didn’t run it by you first!

;)

Mark
Mark
January 13, 2015 10:44 pm

UK carrier strike will consist of a dozen UK jets with a dozen plus U.S. marine corp jets unless there is a dramatic change in fast jet numbers this side of 2040 which I can’t personnelly see short of a serious fall out with the Russians. With 7 sqns and a mandated requirement to provide 3 qra’s I doubt we’d have capacity to deploy more than 40 jets in a balls out effort (perhaps 18 f35). Reading the tea leafs in the press its been a likely outcome for at least 8 years, but we bogged on regardless.

Perhaps a sobering thought is the dutch are buying 37 f35 which they feel will allow them to declare 6 jet to nato.

IXION
January 13, 2015 10:56 pm

Oh look a carrier thread…..

TD….. I pointed out a long time ago elephants were hugely overblown for what we were going to use them for. I was positively haranged about how they were realy big LPHs multifunctional flexible etc……..

Turns out their not.

Never mind helicopter slots, how about accomodation for all those embarked troops. Bunks, heads, armories, passageway widths, all taken care of in the original design??

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
January 13, 2015 11:10 pm

TOC,

I suspect that the go ahead was more to do with the Defence Industrial Strategy rather than a SAG scenario. There simply is not a remotely credible operational scenario where NOT having a Carrier Strike capability is binary for the UK. Unless you think that you know different?

Without being privy to the ins and outs of the DIS, it would seem that we could have 3 or even 4 of the Juan Carlos class licence built from Navantia in the Clyde, which would have given us a far more flexible capability. We could even still have some of the spastic little fat jets. And we could have well decks and an amphibious capability scaled to our ability to maintain a Commando Brigade. Instead, we’re getting something hugely sub-optimal.

Anyway, as I have both moral right, strategic logic and hindsight on my side, I’m not remotely touchy. If you want me to respect an argument that you put forward for Carrier Strike, for the third time of asking, what is your remotely credible scenario in which the UK having such is vital? If you don’t put forward a scenario, I will be forced to conclude that you don’t have one. ;)

whitelancer
whitelancer
January 13, 2015 11:22 pm

Red Trousers
You really have a downer on the RN. The British Army has always relied on the Navy to get to where it’s going to fight, to sustain it when its their and occasionally rescue it from disaster when things go tits up. Does that mean you are arguing for the Army to be reduced to a Home Defence force.
It certainly will not be able to do very much overseas without the support of the RN. Peacekeeping would be about it. Or are you relying on the US for the necessary support or maybe the Europeans! But then if you’re going to rely on either or both of them to take on the responsibilities of the RN why not rely on them to take over from the Army too?
Perhaps that’s the answer to a reducing defence budget. Turn the Navy and Army into a coastal/home defence force and spend what money we have on the RAF!!!!

whitelancer
whitelancer
January 13, 2015 11:59 pm

Red Trousers
The problem with coming up with a credible scenario for carrier strike or many other military ops is that many scenarios seem incredible until they happen. Gulf War 1 for instance. If you had suggested even weeks before that the British Army would be deploying an armoured division to the middle east would that have appeared even remotely credible?
Incidentally conducting amphibious ops without air support is not a good idea. Unless you plan on only conducting them in the most permissive situations, in which case the capabilities of an LPH or two is hardly needed.

cky7
cky7
January 14, 2015 12:31 am

I’m a bit confused by some of the comments from some of the anti-carrier guys here as they appear to be contradicting what they’ve said in other recent threads, to be fair this could be down to my lack of understanding or misinterpretation on my part (quite likely :) ).
Firstly, on the subject of having well decks use as an LHA, haven’t the yanks moved away having well decks on the America class? Our current amphib structure tends towards their specialised ships (carrier/LHA, LPD and LSD) more than the other europeans who tend to have multi-role platforms so why would we need well decks? The QE’s could handle the air delivery with the Albions and Bays doing the well deck ops.
Also i’m sure some of those saying we should have had LHA/LPHs rather than carrier strike were saying we should be looking at giving up amphibious capabilities?
As for carrier strike, I’m always hearing on here that we need to be looking at being as adaptable as possible and looking for maximum ruthless conformity across the services. Surely these huge decked ships offer the greatest potential for conformity of platforms as their size makes them more likely to be able to use common platforms that all three services can use in the future? On their not being needed, the RN, USN and marines don’t tend to agree and they are the ones with the most experience in this field. As far as i can see they’re exactly what was called for back in the ’98 SDR and following studies, so the blame for any changes since lie solely at the feet of the govt, for changing policies in the meantime. The RN have provided exactly what they were asked to do and provided a design that could be very useful still despite the massive changes in the meantime.
People are also always talking about how we’ll have to work with our allies and here the QEs will be great assets too. Most of the conflicts we’ve had over the last 20 or so years would have benefitted from having these beasties available with US marine and RN jets on them/other allies helicopters/troops even, operating in conjunction with allied support ships. The only area i can think of that people could claim would be more helpful to allies would be cats/traps instead of STOVL but the reasons for this have been argued before. Large flat tops have proven to eb hugely useful platforms in virtually all areas/scenarios. Most future combatants seem to highlighting more and more the need for organic air assets and this will be provided in spades by the QEs. Surely the question is where they would be no use?

cky7
cky7
January 14, 2015 1:36 am

Oh and RT and TOC, you mentioned a submersible amphib – it has been thought of…. sort of – http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,8237.0.html

Martin
Editor
January 14, 2015 4:08 am

Given that the QE’s will have a 50 year operational life span and won’t really enter into service until well into the 2020’s and Albion and Bulwark can’t go on forever and there eventual replacement will be some form of LHD then it could very well be the case that by the 2030’s we end up with 2 CVF and 2 LHD.

I take TD’s point that CVF was always suppose to embark large Helo’s. Even as far back as 98 there was talk of it carrying 50 Helicopters but a large part of the design has been scaled back to try and keep the project with it budget. No doubt the extra helicopter spaces were part of this.

As NAB points out it hardly seems like the biggest job in the world to get them on and the funds may well come from the projects contingency budget.

Martin
Editor
January 14, 2015 4:17 am

@ Repulse

“For the actual capabilities that the UK has, I cannot see an issue here either. What people have to accept is that our amphibious assault capability will being able to deploy a 800 man light Cdo, nothing more without a safe / friendly port to dock, plus an airport to fly things in. Plus, with the T26 design looking to operate Chinooks and LCVPs (which can also fit on the Rivers BTW), I do not see the need to adapt the CVF design, nor the need for LPDs/LHDs.”

Not so sure about this. We managed to lift a Division sized force 8,000 miles in 1982 without a fraction of the capability we have today.

Car Ferries and cruise ships have served us pretty well in every real war we have ever fought for moving troops and supplies. We only have an unopposed landing doctrine as well.

In the event of a full scale war we could still raise at least 3 squadrons of F35B to put on the two CV’s and the combined capacity of P&O and Cunnard could probably transport the entire British Army and Reserve in one go.

The Other Chris
January 14, 2015 7:24 am

If all you have in your repertoire is a left jab…

Better to have a variety of punches that you can apply in combination instead, n’es pas?

mickp
mickp
January 14, 2015 9:12 am

I don’t see this as a big problem. I am also not wedded to the strike carrier idea – yes it could carry 36 F35s but I see it functioning 90+% of the time as a mixed role carrier to lead our naval task groups. Thus 12 F35, 9 ASW Merlin and 5 crowsnest Merlin as normal complement. Would they add a handful of Wildcats for riding shotgun’ through choke points etc or would they rely on the escorts (if there are any?!). With all that, would it normally deploy with any Commando helos and if so how many could it fit, on top of the above air group? As an aside, perhaps Osprey has moved up the future purchase list now it has been selected for COD replacement for the USN? http://breakingdefense.com/2015/01/navy-decides-to-buy-v-22-ospreys-for-carrier-delivery/

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
January 14, 2015 9:47 am

“The RN would never put these into the littoral, peoples ideas of using these as LHA’s just doesn’t sing well with me, the RN is (justifiably) wary of putting such important capital ships into harms way… i.e. 1982.”

För littoral OPS, anything from welldecks would need to be launched within the littoral. Not true för air, ESP. För Chinook/Merlin.

In ’82 the TF went down South in such Haste that the nukes were left onboard. Only before the start of the hostilities were they removed from ships that had a higher likelihood of being sunk into the carrier and RFA deep magazines .. Another reason för the admirals to be overcautious with these ships.

Mark
Mark
January 14, 2015 10:34 am

Mickp

Your merlin numbers, there was plenty of press around the deep blue exercise last year one comment from the co stuck inmy mind he said 9 merlins on a carrier is a sight no one has seen before. Don’t know if he’s right or wrong but if we’ve not deployed more than 9 merlins to carry since we’ve had them how are we suddenly going to deploy 12 or more grey ones on a cvf when the force size has got smaller

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
January 14, 2015 10:49 am

The reason we’ve never had 9 on a carrier other than Deep Blue is that the sqn size dropped to 6 from 9 cabs when 820 and 814 converted to Merlin from SK HAS6. The rationale behind that was a mix of the increased endurance of Merlin, nominally increased serviceability (logs pipeline didn’t help that!) and optimism. We have had 9+ cabs aboard carriers in relatively recent times, but that reflects ASaC7 and HU5s in the TAG.

There has also been the small matter of the ASW threat being decreed to have gone away by anyone in MB over the last fifteen years…..which meant that putting a formed ASW sqn aboard slipped down the priorities list.

Now the ASW and ASAC function will be in the same airframe, (HM2) and that we are trying to return to contingency rather than occupation / COIN, this should be easier. However, I tend to agree that there won’t be enough HM2, which is one reason the orphan 8 are being considered as an option to add to an extension of the MCSP.

The Other Chris
January 14, 2015 11:01 am

Hope the funds can be found for the “orphans”. 8 is one of those very “sympathetic numbers” that really helps during proposals/requests for funding, given the number of cabs planned to carry Crowsnest at any one time.

Observer
Observer
January 14, 2015 11:39 am

NaB, I think you mistook my post for doom and gloom. My point was that the carriers were designed for a specific purpose, and anything else is a bit of a bonus, so expecting a FJ carrier to act like a LHA will obviously require some changes and that always costs.

The Ginge
The Ginge
January 14, 2015 1:15 pm

Having read the thread above it does seem to me even from an amateurs perspective that we have three questions here.
1. Do we need a Strike Carrier at all.
2. When Ocean/Albion/Bulwark hit OSD can QE and POW cover those tasks.
3. Why only now this late in the processes do MOD/BAe acknowledge that extra Helicopter spots need designing and we presume funding.
So to answer these questions you have to look at the Strategic Requirements of the UK. Well we have committed ourselves to Home Defence, Nato Commitments, Overseas UN sanctioned Actions, Defence of UK overseas Territories, the continued Open Navigation of the Sea. So applying these Strategic Requirements
1. We will need a Strike Carrier if A) Argentina does convince Russia to supply on a cheap lease with suitable support high quality Strike Aircraft. You would not do FI War Mk2 the same as 1982. You would get a proper CAP up over the Island and your fleet. Remember to have 4 F35’s up permanently you a going to need at least 24 Aircraft if not more. The idea being that no aircraft should be able to penetrate your CAP over the FI to menace your few Amphibs. To supply proper Close Air Support to troops. Remember because of the limitations of the Sea Harrier in numbers and range none of the above was achieved in FI Mk1 and we (more importantly the Welsh Guards) paid the price. B) Freedom of Movement especially in the Gulf. Over the next 20yrs the USA’s patrols of that piece of Sea is going to be less and less. They do not need the oil. Due to environmental concerns stopping Fracking in the EU, Europe is going to be dependent on Gulf oil and Gas. Without Guaranteed land based Airfields for the RAF any deployment to safe guard oil/gas is going to be dependent on France and Gt Britain having Strike Carriers to replace the US Navies vessels which will be redeployed to Asia. Those are just 2 significant Strategic reasons a Strike Carrier Capability is needed, without talking about Nato operations in Libya, or providing air cover and extra Helicopters in the N Atlantic to F26 fleet hunting Russian Sub in a pier to pier conflict. The list really does go on and on. Yes the RAF can supply some of this but when your somewhere hostile having a Safe ship to land your planes on is a lot better option than begging local Governments for landing rights.
2. Amphibious Ships. With Oceans OSD 2018 or 2022 depending where you read it so is very unlikely to be replaced. The question is can QE or PoW actually replace Ocean. The simple answer is no. Ocean has unique capabilities in 3c to deploy 800 marines and support them ashore. It has a vehicle Deck, it has rear ramps to use Mexiflotes, it has accommodation for the Marines and it is expendable. The only item out of that little lot the QE’s bring is the Helicopter Air Group. It would not be able to operate to defend itself with Aircraft, embark enough Helicopters and have room for 800 Marines. So if you lose the capacity of Ocean you have to start doing things differently. You are never going to risk you primary Air Capacity Vessel closer than 200 miles to shore (just because of cheap land based Anti-Ship Missiles, as the QE’s make huge targets and less than 200 miles gives your Escort ships no time to react to missile attack, just look at the US Marines discussions on future landings, they are talking about not having LPH/LPD any closer than 100 miles) whilst trying to land troops. So the Helicopter Transport is going to have to be deployed from QE’s and then lily padded of other ships whilst operating in the close air transport role. But the fact is you are not going to be able to deploy 800 Marines with all their support and vehicles from a QE. We then have the thorny issue of the LPD’s. This is even further removed from the possible roles of the QE Class, although 3 Commando are not designed to be much more than deployed as Light Infantry, we know they use Viking/Broncos and if you need those you have to have a well deck. So in my view the problem the RN have is convincing Politicians that if they wish to deploy from the Sea they do need to replace Ocean & Invincible, plus Albion and Bulwark on a one for one basis and that the QE class cannot perform the duties of the other Amphibious ships in anything like a good enough way. Thy can do limited amounts but not a full deployment. We learnt lessons the hard way in 1982 and to a lesser extent Yugoslavia which lead to the development of Ocean and Albion. Let’s not make the same mistake again, or alternatively we decide as a nation we are not involved in the intervention game at all.
3. The answer is simple, neither the Mod or BAe ever saw the need for the QE’s to deploy that many Helicopters in a single lift. It has obviously been pointed out to them that an Ocean replacement is not coming. Thus the one lift Helicopter number has to increase whilst still deploying Merlins/Wildcat in ASW/AEW roles that the ship needs to do 24/7 to protect itself. So in the grand tradition of the British Armed forces we will take a Ship designed to do one thing and bodge it to do something else. We have already been found out in Afghanistan and Iraq that we can’t punch above our wait. It is a story that has bedevilled the QE’s from the start as the requirements have continually been moved by politicians. If we had said Strike Carrier 2/3rds the Size of Nimitz Class ships and doing the same things the QE’s would have been out and operational by now with Cat and Traps and F18’s and all the other planes the USN flies, and in reality probably for ½ the cost to date of the QE’s.
The simple solution for this is to buy the 2 Mistrals that are going to be sitting in French Shipyards for the next 10yrs silently rusting away. But the timing sucks and we ain’t got any money. The problem is the public and the politicians think because the boys and girls in Dark Blue, Light Blue and Kaki don’t make a fuss that we can do everything we have always done. Send an Armoured Brigade to the Middle East, Send 5,000 troops south to FI no problem Sir, we can do that Sir. My fear is one day we will not be bailed out by the Yanks as we were in Helmand.
Sorry for the long reply but the simple fact is all the very experienced people on this Board are arguing about seating positions at Dinner whilst the Titanic Sinks. It don’t matter if you save Ocean/Bulwark but go down to 5 FJ Squadrons for the RAF or you get 10 Squadrons for the RAF by only having an Army of 30,000 the simple fact is we have and always will do live in an uncertain world in which you can never predict the next war. So unless somebodies got a wonderful Crystal Ball we really should say this is the minimal level of equipment to be as active in world affairs as successive PM’s and the Public have wanted to be or we stop doing that and Just look at the Defence of the UK only. It really is scrapping the Barrel time.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
January 14, 2015 1:29 pm

TD knows that flaming carrier wars willget people to read the NAO reports?

Took time to read the Eq Plan one; Major Projects still on the list:
– para 58 finally states that MOD and Treasury have gone evens on UORs. The first couple of years bit into the normal budget, but what remains of the capital value of the rest is gifted.

The most interesting list is the appendices:projects not yet approved
– as they havenot been approved, auditors are not under obligation to tally up their total cost number

The Other Chris
January 14, 2015 1:31 pm

@The Ginge

3. It’s not a “last minute oh shit” situation, it’s an identified area of capacity that we can make use of if we extend the First of Class Flight Trials programme to test an increased number of spots compared to those originally identified. Money to extend the programme isn’t allocated yet, language used suggests this is doable in the existing budget.

I understand from previous threads (please correct me if I’m mistaken) that these programmes include the likes of routes for passengers to take to waiting transports, with rotors turning, for example.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
January 14, 2015 2:06 pm

If we get 10 Chinook spots… v good

Or maybe we can get a tag-on order for the Ozzie JCs that can defend themselves closer to shore… but sadly only have 4 Chinook spots; a bonus welldock , though.

“The Canberra class vessels boast a length of 230.82 metres (757.3 ft), with a maximum beam of 32 metres (105 ft) and maximum draught of 7.08 metres (23.2 ft). Maximum speed is 20 knots, and the LHDs will sport four Rafael Typhoon 25 mm remote weapons systems, six 12.7 mm machine guns, an AN/SLQ-25 Nixie towed torpedo decoy, and a Nulka missile decoy.

The LHDs will be able to carry 1,046 soldiers and their equipment. Two vehicle decks (one for light vehicles, the other for heavy vehicles and tanks) can accommodate up to 110 vehicles. Each ship has a well deck for landing craft, while the flight deck has landing spots for six NH90-class helicopters or four CH-47 Chinook-class helicopters to operate simultaneously. “

The Other Chris
January 14, 2015 3:30 pm

I think we have more chance of Soviet Russian-modified French Mistral-class than Australian-modified Spanish Canberra-class.

This opinion only based on the political/diplomatic navigation required when buying a foreign design: If we’re not going to build our own, better to enhance our burgeoning military relationship and closeness with France (and stick one in the eye to Putin) with maybe some matériel heading the other way than engage a complete third party?

@Thread

On the topic of burgeoning military relationships: With Meteor going ahead and P-1 on the table, what say you to a fleet of Sōryū-class in a combined Japanese / Australian / UK production run?

Kent
Kent
January 14, 2015 11:49 pm

Shoulda put an angled flight deck and CATOBAR with 2 EMALS forward on them from the beginning and put proper strike carrier aircraft (F35C) on ’em. Then you wouldn’t be dreaming of ECV-22s for AEW and CV-22s for COD and wondering where you were going to put all the helicopters. Carrier strike wasn’t done during the Falklands war because it couldn’t be done with Harriers. Carrier strike could be done with F35C on the Argentinian airfields and ports to isolate any invasion force that made it to the islands.

@RT – Without a Navy, how are you going to keep those little islands from being taken in the first place? I hardly think a flight of Typhoons and an infantry battalion will do the job. Maybe you can get the islanders to put stakes all around the islands, paint themselves blue and attack any invaders like the Britons attacked the Legions of Julius Caesar.

Clive F
Clive F
January 15, 2015 12:14 am

RT’s SSNs might slow them down somewhat

Ron
Ron
January 15, 2015 12:25 am

Still debating the merits of carriers?? Pretty sure that ship sailed 20 years ago. The RN has two pretty much half built. Time to learn to love them I would think.

And no, small aircraft carriers cannot do the job. They cannot continuously generate enough sorties to defend yourself and be nasty to the bad guys. All you do in proposing them is make the Treasury very happy and make your soldiers & airmen very dead.

monkey
monkey
January 15, 2015 12:47 am

@Kent
“paint themselves blue and attack any invaders like the Britons attacked the Legions of Julius Caesar.”
The locals down there do that at weekends anyway as that and counting sheep,penguins and unexploded argue mines there isn’t a lot else to do :-) I am with you on our present deployment down there is inadequate and to pose a credible deterrent to a potential hostile takeover at least a carrier task group is needed for that purpose alone.